TORONTO, Feb. 25, 2014 /CNW/ - With Canada's aging population accelerating, there is more focus on the growing number of tech-savvy seniors (60 percent) who are seeking digital options for managing their health services remotely, according to a new Accenture NYSE:ACN survey. Although seniors in Canada want access to healthcare technology, such as electronic reminders (58 percent) and online appointment scheduling (65 percent), research shows only 10 percent of healthcare providers currently offer such capabilities.
The growing population of seniors in Canada are active online users, as documented by Revera's 2013 report, showing regular Internet use has more than tripled for citizens ages 65 and older over the past decade. Accenture's research shows 29 percent of seniors are self-tracking health indicators, such as weight and blood pressure, and one-in-four track information pertaining to their health history.
"Just as seniors are turning to the Internet for banking, shopping, entertainment and communications, they also expect to virtually manage certain aspects of their healthcare services," said Debra Sandomirsky, managing director of Accenture's health business in Canada. "What this means is that health systems need to expand their digital options if they want to attract older patients and help them track and manage their care outside their doctor's office."
Three-fourths of seniors (75 percent) surveyed say that access to their health information is important, but only 14 percent currently can access their records. Similarly, more than half of seniors (55 percent) believe it's important to be able to request prescription refills electronically, but, only 14 percent say they can do so today. And, roughly half (46 percent) want to be able to email healthcare providers, but only 7 percent say they currently have that capability.
"As a growing number of seniors are digitally-engaged, healthcare systems need to consider the role the Internet can play in making healthcare more convenient for patients of all ages at every touch point," Sandomirsky added.
Accenture conducted consumer research with 9,015 adults across nine countries (Australia, Brazil, Canada, England, France, Germany, Singapore, Spain and the United States), including 1,000 citizens seniors (ages 65+) receiving Medicare benefits, assessing their perceptions of using digital tools to manage their own healthcare. Where relevant, these findings were compared to Accenture's 2013 Healthcare Consumer Research and Doctors Survey.
Accenture is a global management consulting, technology services and outsourcing company, with approximately 281,000 people serving clients in more than 120 countries. Combining unparalleled experience, comprehensive capabilities across all industries and business functions, and extensive research on the world's most successful companies, Accenture collaborates with clients to help them become high-performance businesses and governments. The company generated net revenues of US$28.6 billion for the fiscal year ended Aug. 31, 2013. Its home page is www.accenture.com.
Image with caption: "Canadian seniors want digital options to manage their health remotely, according to new Accenture survey. (CNW Group/Accenture)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20140225_C6972_PHOTO_EN_37101.jpg
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